10.04.2005

Interview with Flickr's TeeveesBella

Just A Girl

Christopherd6: TeeveesBella, is there a meaning behind this screen name? what is your real name?
Teevees Bella: My real name is Heather. The meaning behind TeeveesBella is kind of silly and sentimental: My boyfriend calls me Bella, which is beautiful in Italian, and I call him Teevee, which is a pet version of Steve, his name.
Christopherd6: cool, so other than taking wonderful photographs, what does your daily life consist of? what pays the bills right now?
Teevees Bella: Well, thanks for the compliment, first of all. Right now I'm mainly doing some temp-work because my life is in a somewhat transitional state. I'm planning a big move within the next year or so and don't want to settle into anything here, and I also need flexibility as I'm in a long-distance relationship and my boyfriend and I spend several weeks together every few months. Before this, though, I was a Promotions and PR specialist in the music industry. I'm changing careers, though, and planning to return to school for Writing (or English) with a minor in Photography.
Teevees Bella: I wish I could say my photography pays the bills!
Christopherd6: don’t we all
Teevees Bella: True.
Christopherd6: As I flip through your shots trying to choose which to talk about first, I noticed most were shot with a point and shoot. tell me a little about your tool of choice
Teevees Bella: Right now, my main piece of equipment is a Canon Powershot A95. It's a nice little camera and a good one to learn with -- or so I'm told. Prior to that, I was actually using my boyfriend's mom's Minolta DiMAGE E323, which was an old 3.2MP that I cut my teeth on, so to speak. I'd love to get a more expensive, better camera -- but my skills and knowledge of the field don't yet justify the expense. Hopefully, it'll happen eventually. I'd love to have something like a Nikon D70s, and a collection of lenses to switch around. I also want to get a Holga and experiment with toy camera photography. But at the moment, it's just me and my little pal, the A95.
Christopherd6: It’s a good camera and you've done some excellent shots with it. I am a strong believer that it doesn't matter what you are shooting with but who is shooting. I've found my most popular shots are those taken with my Canon p&s even now with a dSLR.
Teevees Bella: I think you're right, really. When I first started out, my grandfather, who's involved in photography himself, heard me complain about the DiMAGE and said, "It's not the camera that takes great photos, it's the photographer."
Christopherd6: Do you process your images in Photoshop before posting on Flickr?
Teevees Bella: Yes, I post-process all my images first, although some of the older ones were upped before I really got into doing that. The post-processing I do is standard stuff: tweaking the levels, cropping, etc. If I ever do something more artsy-fartsy, such as digital cross-processing, I make sure people realize that (though it's usually pretty obvious, anyway).
Christopherd6: let’s talk about the image "holding on" one of my favorites. how did the idea come about?
Teevees Bella: Thanks! I'd been really, really depressed in the wake of Katrina's devastation. I felt guilty for sleeping in my own bed at night, or for having a full plate of food when these people were sleeping in garbage and starving. I'm also a huge, huge animal lover and was being utterly destroyed by the images of stranded animals that I kept seeing. I did some volunteering and donated some money, but I also needed something to contribute artistically -- even if only for myself, as an outlet. So I took some mardi-gras beads I happened to have hanging around and composed the picture to basically be a reflection of how I felt -- not only that I wished I could have done more, but also that I would do what I could to help hold on to what remained. It was a statement, more than anything else, I suppose.
Christopherd6: What distinguishes a picture from a photograph for you, is there a difference? Do you see your work as snapshots or photography?
Teevees Bella: I think more in terms of photos being snapshots or artistic. To me, a snapshot tends to be done quickly, without much regard to composition, lighting, etc., and doesn't necessarily have the elements required to be considered art. They're more about recording a memory and they tend to be very personal in nature. Artistic photography, to me, is about creating something with the deliberate intent to have it be seen and appreciated as art, with control over composition, lighting, location, etc. And, in my case, I don't bother post-processing my snapshots.
Christopherd6: So how long have you been creating "Artistic" photos?
Teevees Bella: A little less than a year, really. I've always had a huge interest in photography, and it was always something I wanted to be involved in -- but I didn't get serious about it until recently.
Christopherd6: By the way I find the sentiment about Katrina very touching and you conveyed the thought very well. It is a very artistic shot.
Teevees Bella: Thank you!
Christopherd6: What sparked the transition from snapshots to art?
Teevees Bella: I went on some road trips and I took tons and tons of photos. When I started showing them to friends and family afterward, people kept saying how great they were and requesting large prints of various shots. I thought, "Huh. Maybe I don't suck at this." And then I showed my grandfather, a very trough critic, and he responded by promptly gifting me a subscription to Popular Photography Magazine and told me that he thought I had talent. Coming from him, that was huge. I also have supportive friends.
Christopherd6: earlier you mention your grandfather was involved in photography, to what extent?
Teevees Bella: My grandfather's day job until he retired was as a buyer for one of the largest (at least at the time) photography equipment suppliers in New York City -- and he's also an incredible photographer himself, and used to have his own darkroom. I grew up with photography being something I equated very closely to him. I also have a cousin who has a professional photography studio, and my father was into, it as well.
Christopherd6: Do you have intentions of a career in photography or is this something you plan to keep as a hobby?
Teevees Bella: Well, ideally, I would love to make a career out of it. I'd like to eventually publish a book of short stories, poems and photography -- and I'd really like to sell my prints. If I could make even a little money doing that, I'd be thrilled. But who knows if I'll ever wrap my head around the technical details to become a decent enough shot to go pro? So I'm not sure I'll get to that point and, if that's the case, I'll just keep being a hobbyist photographer.
Christopherd6: Are there any artists that inspire your photography?
Teevees Bella: There are MANY artists that inspire my love of photography and my interest in it. I was an avid fan of it before I was involved in it. Kathleen Connally and Ladislav Kamarád are two of my favorites. But really, there are so many out there, from the well-known to the unknown, who just move me beyond words with their art. These are the people who make me love photography so much.
Christopherd6: so are there any landscape shots of you own that youd like to mention and link to?
Teevees Bella: Ha! Like I want to follow the mere mention of the two photographers above! But seriously, I have a love/hate thing going with my landscape shots. Most were taken with the older camera and only a few have been post-processed. I like this one but, in general, my landscapes are my least favorites right now.
Christopherd6: You have an excellent blog devoted to your photography, tell everyone about it.
Teevees Bella: Thanks! eyeFlashes.com is my photoblog, and it's where I put my favorites of the images I take. I just started it a few months ago, and I'm really proud of it -- even though most traffic to my photos is still through Flickr, because I'm hosting them there at the moment. I built it myself. I installed Wordpress on my server, which I'm very proud of. I have quite a bit of webdesign experience (as a hobby) but I normally have my boyfriend do most of the more technical backend stuff -- but this I somehow pulled off on my own. I'm just trying to find an easy way to host the gallery myself or to integrate my Flickr sets better. The plugins out there are a bit too complicated for my non-techie mind.
Christopherd6: amazing work. It has been an enjoyable conversation. I encourage everyone to check out that blog of yours at eyeflashes.com Any final words?
Teevees Bella: Thanks for interviewing me! I haven't gotten too involved yet in Flickr's social structure, so I appreciate you spotlighting someone who's not one of the Flickr Stars. :)
Christopherd6: You will soon be if you manage to keep improving as you have over the past months. As I looked over your stuff it looks like you are improving in leaps and bounds
Teevees Bella: Well, I sure hope so! And I appreciate the encouragement.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Ashley said...

nice interview
i enjoyed reading it
and the explaination to "holing on" was very touching, i like the photo too
excellent questions, chris
and well put answers, heather
~ash

Tue Oct 04, 12:41:00 PM  
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Tue Oct 04, 08:22:00 PM  

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